Out-of-Sight-Out-of-Mind-Chapter-22 by xiaopangnv

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									                                 Out of Sight, Out of Mind

                                        Chapter 22

                                   “Finally, it’s over…”

                                             ---
                                    8th December 1997
                                       Tendo Home
                                          7:34pm

Nabiki was writing in her laptop, her Excel spreadsheet updating the betting ratings of the
day, and adding to the debt of some people.

“Ranma beat Kuno in 2.3 seconds today... It’s been a slow time for him lately, I’ve been
losing money.” She altered a value and smiled at the new compound interest. “That’s
better, this way I’ll be in the black...”

A soft rapping on her door caught her attention. “One moment...”

She tapped in the daily fee for Kuno to be dragged to the nurse’s office to his debt, sure
that he would pay it the next day. She saved her work and shut down her computer,
clicking the lid closed.

“Come in!” The door opened slightly, before a somewhat nervous head popped in. “Why
Ranma, nice to see you! What brings you here?”

“Shh!” He said it a bit too loud as he jumped in and closed the door quietly. “I don’t want
Akane getting mad again, please?”

Nabiki smirked. “Fine then, state your business quickly, or I might scream about my
underwear being stolen. You have one minute.”

“Okay...” He went over to her bed and looked at her inquisitively, and she nodded. Hmm...
He’s being polite, this is a first... Ranma sat on the mattress, and felt the bed lower a bit.
He took a deep breath before continuing. “I need your advice on something. Something
about me... And big...” He looked around, as if the wall had ears. “I can’t talk about this
here, someone might hear... Do you know some place we can talk in private?”

She looked at him as if he was making out with Ryoga, in male form, that is to say, totally
stupefied, and yet mesmerised. Wha...? Ranma is being paranoid?! What the hell is he so
worried about? Who might hear? And... “You need to give me some clues, Ranma. I can’t
just agree to meet you somewhere and not know what the subject is about...”

“I... I’m sorry...” He looked away and began fiddling with his thumbs. “I can’t say right now.
I just need you to be open to anything I could ask you...” At Nabiki’s troubled expression,
his own looked desperate. “Please?”

As Nabiki was about to answer a voice echoed around the house. “Ranma! I made you
dinner! Aren’t you hungry?”

He paled suddenly as his stomach juices began preparations to ingest itself to prevent
massive internal organ failure. Nabiki knew there wasn’t enough time left, so quickly
thought up a plan.

“First, give me 3000 yen.” Ranma faltered, but withdrew the required amount from his
pocket and gave it to her. “Good... Meet me tomorrow at the right hand junction of our
street from the entrance at precisely seven thirty in the evening. Wear something formal,
and bring lots of cash. We’ll not speak again until then.” She unlocked her window. “Go,
now.”

Ranma took his leave and leaped backwards onto the window sill, squatting and facing the
Tendo.

“Thanks, Nabiki.”

The footsteps were much louder now so Nabiki pushed him away, his arms wheeling
futilely as he fell, and slammed her window shut, just as Akane burst in. The distant cry of
a splash and a female cry could be heard.

“Hey Nabiki, have you seen Ranma anywhere?”

“No I haven’t as a matter of fact...” She blew on her nails, sitting comfortably on the bed. “I
think I saw him leave half an hour ago, something to do with Mousse...”

“Oh...” Her bright mood dampened. “I wanted him to try my curry, I tried hard on this one.”

Indeed the plate looked and smelled appetising; however Nabiki wasn’t in the mood.

“Sorry, Akane, I already ate dinner, but I’m sure if you save some for Ranma, he’ll be
happy to have it later.”

Akane smiled. “I hope so!”

As she left, she was about to close the door before Nabiki held out a hand.

“Also, you owe me 500 yen for entering without knocking, you know the rules Akane.”

“Oh, fine then!” She turned away. “I’ll give it to you later tonight.” She calmed down and
pulled the door closed. “Good night Nabiki.”

“‘Night to you too sis...”

Once the door was shut, Nabiki leaned forwards. Open to anything, huh...? She steeled
her expression. This is serious, if it was something simple, then he would just come out
and say it... She brought out a notepad. I have to write down ideas of what he could ask,
and do a little research...

Nabiki wrote for several hours.

                                        The next day
                                          7:30pm

The day had gone by in its everyday fashion, Ranma and Nabiki avoided speaking to each
other, but since that was normal, nobody noticed it. The peace at school was strange
though, Ranma actually ate Akane’s curry bento, leftovers from the day before, and for
once, he enjoyed it.

Wearing a dress that would inspire nosebleeds from most hot blooded males, namely, the
one she ‘acquired’ from Toma’s island, she walked proudly down the steps to the front
door. Soun, Genma and Akane were eating in the kitchen, but Kasumi heard the distinct
sound of the floorboards near the entrance creak. She walked out, her serving apron still
attached to her.

“Going out on a date, Nabiki?”

“Yeah...” She flipped her hair back dramatically. “Just another person who thinks he’s good
enough for me...”

“Well, make sure you don’t make him completely broke. That last boy had to sell his kidney
to pay for your last date.”

“Err... Right...” Nabiki sweatdropped, hoping that her sister was somehow wrong. “Anyway,
I’m off...”

“Ah yes...!” Kasumi exclaimed, a sudden thought coming back to her. “Have you seen
Ranma about? He’s not here for dinner so I was worried…”

Good old Kasumi, she cares for everyone... “I think I saw Ranma challenged by some new
guy in town. I’m sure he’ll be back later this evening. The opponent didn’t seem too
powerful enough to have everyone come along.”

“Okay, that’s good.” She seemed relieved. “I was hoping he didn’t get hurt there all alone.
Enjoy your date Nabiki.”

“See ya, sis.”

She opened the door after putting on her high heels, leaving her slippers in the waiting
area, and left into the cool evening, tucking her overcoat around her thin dress. Outside
she looked at the sky, which was currently thick with clouds, but no threat of rain. She
walked off to the right and wasn’t disappointed when she saw a man standing beneath the
lamppost. She strode up to him and appraised his looks, He wore smart shoes and
trousers, with a black silk top and had a red tie on. He still had his pigtail however.

“Hello, handsome, ready to take me out then?”

The person looked her over and facefaulted once he saw what was beneath the overcoat.
“N-Nabiki... Where did you get that dress?!”

“Oh, you know, a present from Toma...” She hooked her arm around his and led him away.
“Now are you going to take me out or what?”

“Umm... Yeah...” He looked about nervously.

“It’s okay.” She spoke seriously as they passed another junction. “I told Kasumi that you
were answering some challenge from a weak person. I also made some subtle comments
about your whereabouts to ‘other people’ who might interfere. No one will know that we’re
together nor where we are for the next few hours.”

“Wow... You really thought about all this, huh?” He seemed mildly impressed. “So, uh...
Have you got any ideas about where to go? I don’t eat out often...”

Well, apart from Ukyo you mean... “As a matter of fact, I know the perfect place for the two
of us to be alone.”

Ranma swallowed hard as his back pocket, where his meagre savings lay in, began to
weep softly.

                                  Twenty minutes later

“Wow... I’ve never been to this part of Nerima before...” Ranma looked at all the lights and
the glitzy homes.

“I’m not surprised, only those with a large sum of money could afford to live here...” She
smiled wryly. “Even I couldn’t hope to get a place here...” She nodded towards a
restaurant. “In here, Ranma.”

He stared at the doorway and his eyes glazed over. The mere entrance itself was lavish.
“Umm... Nabiki, I brought out all my savings, but even that won’t cover us for here...”

“It’s okay...” She winked at him. “I have a deal with the manager, we’ll get reduced prices.
He doesn’t want to be seen milking students, but with me around, he knows I’ll do
something about it if he overcharges me.” She squeezed him arm tighter. “We’ll be fine,
now lead me in.”

Ranma did so, and they stood before a small reception, as the man behind the counter
looked down at the twosome, his uppity manner already radiating from him. “How may I
help you?”

“We have a booking here.” Nabiki began.

“Under what name?” He began to scan down the list.

“Nabiki Tendo.”

He raised his eyebrows and looked at the girl in question. “I see... Very well, come this
way and I shall escort you to your table.”

A few short minutes later, they arrived at a completely secluded area in the restaurant,
with low lighting, and small walls either side of them to ensure their privacy.

“May I take your coat Miss Tendo?” The maitre d' asked.

“Yes, thank you.”

Nabiki handed him her overcoat, and once again Ranma felt light-headed at seeing her
upper thigh peeking out from the side split. They sat down opposite each other and peered
at the menus in front of them.
“Before you order, would you like something to drink?”

“Yes, please.” Nabiki scrolled down the wine list. “I’d like a glass of Rioja please.”

“Excellent choice.” He scribbled it on his notepad. “And for the gentleman?”

Ranma looked about nervously. “I... I’m not really good with alcohol... Could I have a glass
of water?”

“Of course, sir.” He bowed lightly and walked off to the bar.

Ranma opened the menu and his eyes bugged out at the prices. “N-Nabiki, you mean to
tell me that these are the reduced prices?!” His whisper was coming out all hoarse.

She smirked. “Of course not! I couldn’t afford that, he’s going to bring them over with our
drinks. It’s my standard procedure.”

His relief was heard. “Phew! That’s good... I thought I’d have to sell my dad into the circus
or something...”

“Okay, enough of the delaying...” Her hands linked together beneath her face. “We know
what we’re here for.” She brought her handbag out and pulled out the small pad she had in
her room. Ranma nodded, though his expression wasn’t as certain. “I came up with a few
ideas of what you had in mind. Whatever it is, it’s big, not something you can do in a day,
and you need a plan of action, right so far?”

He nodded again, then leaned back as the waiter returned with the drinks and new menus,
taking the old ones with him. Nabiki opened up the first page.

“Right...” She took a sip of her red wine then continued. “First off, I guessed that maybe
you wanted to marry someone, Akane, Ukyo or Shampoo. I wrote out a list of pros and
cons with each one, and even put in an entry for Kodachi and other people...”

“Others?” Ranma frowned who else could there be?” He began drinking his water.

“Well, for starters...” She grinned. “There’s Kuno, Ryoga and Mousse...”

He almost spat out his water but swallowed it carefully, not wanting to cause a scene in
the quiet restaurant. He was about to yell but Nabiki held up her hand.

“Well, in any case, you have problems, Ukyo has her dowry, lost or sold by your dad.
Shampoo has the Joketsuzoku on her side, and Akane has a promise from our fathers. I
couldn’t see any way out, unless you renege on someone, or yourself. But this would
reflect on your honour...”

Ranma agreed, making Nabiki raise an eyebrow. He’s already been thinking about all
this... She turned the page. “Next on the list, you found a cure for your Jusenkyo curse, but
there’s some catch involved, which will affect other people around you. Maybe part of your
mind will contain the female hormones... Maybe your female half will come to life and live
independently from you. Maybe even your curse will be locked at certain times so you can
remain male in front of everyone... Again, I don’t know the catch, so I can’t elaborate
further...”

Ranma cocked his head, intrigued at the suggestions of hers. Guess it’s not that then...
The third page was up. “The last thing I could think of would be for you to get stronger all
of a sudden. You know of some enemy that’s out there that’s dangerous, maybe even
Saffron, and you want to beat the person. I’ve thought of some ways, there is the super
soba meal, but you’ll grow cat whiskers...” He tensed up. “I guess that you don’t really
want that... There’s several things, that weird graffiti on the stomach for one, the suit of
Akane that you beat up, and a few more... You could learn new techniques, Ryoga is really
strong, so you could learn the Bakusai Tenketsu to get your body strength up. Mousse’s
Hidden Weapons, if you could learn that, would be handy if for some reason fists and feet
don’t work. Lastly, try combining your attacks into one long combination, I can’t think of
any suggestions, but I’m sure you can come up with inventive ways.”

Ranma was thinking about this seriously, but said nothing.

“I’ve also come up with several other situations which you could be involved with, but
there’s too many to say...”

“What would you like to order?”

The waiter had returned having seen them polish off half their drinks. Nabiki glanced over
the menu quickly. “I think we’ll go for the large sushi platter, as well as the special to go
with that.”

“Very well...” He noted down the large order and bowed again, leaving for the kitchens.

“So...” She stared at Ranma as he took the notebook from her, rereading her suggestions.
“What did you want advice on, Ranma?”

He pulled at his collar, his nervousness getting the better of him for one moment. He
leaned in and spoke in hushed tones. Nabiki also moved forwards, so their heads were
inches apart.

“I need you to help me disappear from Nerima, forever.”

“What?!” She half cried, then coughed to cover up her slip. A few restaurant goers were
glancing in their direction, but looked away when nothing of interest happened.

“Shh!” Ranma tried to calm her down as she took a large gulp of wine. “Keep it down!” He
whispered.

Nabiki stared at him in a new light. What the... That was the last possible thing on my list...
I can’t believe him! “You do realise how difficult that’s going to be, right?”

Ranma sighed and looked down at his hands, they had started gripping the tablecloth
tighter. “I... I know...” He looked up, his eyes resolute, but pleaded. “Th-That’s why I came
to you, you’re the only person left that can help...”

Nabiki looked at him. That’s a first, him begging for help... She thought back to all the
times he spoke with her. In fact, he’s never really asked me for help, only for the short
term. This is a major, long term resolution...
“You said it yourself...” Ranma spoke as Nabiki still refused to reply. “I can’t marry anyone,
my honour would break the moment I did that... I have three engagements, one by
Joketsuzoku law, the other no thanks to dad for stealing the dowry, and the last one
promised before I was born. I had no say in any of them; they were all forced on me!”
Ranma’s knuckles grew whiter. “I have enemies, and things would get out of hand, like ‘the
wedding’.” Nabiki’s eyes flicked away when he said that. “Someone might die this time...
That’s why I have to go.”

Nabiki took a deep breath. “Okay, I get it already...” She folded her arms on the table.
“What do you need to know?”

“I’m going to get out of here.” Nabiki remained neutral. “I have an idea about removing
memory, but it needs time to prepare...” He fidgeted a bit here, and Nabiki raised an
eyebrow. That’s suspicious, he just happens to know of a solution to the whole brain
thing? “It erases the existence of a person in their mind. It can also fill in the gaps to big
events with a similar result for everyone, except without me.”

“How will it explain what happened at Jusendo?” Nabiki had to ask. “Or any of your big
fights? Will Ryoga take your place or something?”

Ranma shrugged, his pained look remaining. “I don’t know how... It can’t be like that,
Ryoga doesn’t know the Hiryu Shoten Ha... Maybe they all fight together and beat
Saffron... The same with Kumon, maybe just my dad would fight him, Herb would be
against the Jusenkyo people...” He shook his head. “That’s not the problem, I don’t need to
know how it works, I just know that it does.”

“So?” Nabiki swirled her remaining wine in her glass, getting bored a bit.

“If I erase myself from everyone’s lives, there are still other places that I exist... I can’t use
this technique on all of Furinkan High, or Nerima, it would take too long. The computers
have me...”

“Ahh...” Nabiki nodded sagely and smiled wryly. “You mean, ‘the system’, you still exist
according to the Japanese government, right? There may even be places you don’t know,
that have you still around, maybe the school keeps records. Without a doubt you will have
a birth certificate somewhere, and at one point it would have been scanned.” She looked
at him, sternly. “This won’t be an easy task, you’ll need to access the main computer, and
delete every record of your existence.”

“What would they be then?” He had a pen out and was writing in the pad Nabiki gave him
earlier.

Nabiki held up a finger each time. “Birth certificate, Furinkan High records, residence
permit, passport office, and your general records as gathered by the government.” She
lowered her hand. “You’re not a member of a library or other such places are you?” He
shook his head, as a new waiter returned with their food. “Good...”

“Enjoy your meals.” Following some thanks, the man left. Nabiki groaned and beckoned
him over again. “Yes?” He asked politely.

“Sorry, could you bring me a glass of Diet Coke?” Nabiki asked.
“Ah... Same here, thanks” Ranma added.

“Yes, I’ll be back in a moment.” He was back in a minute with the drinks. “Enjoy.” He left
soon after.

“I never realised you liked diet drinks Ranma...” She chuckled merrily.

“Well...” He scratched behind his head. “I need to keep my figure somehow... It gives me a
good caffeine boost too, handy for the late night fights and spars in the morning with my
dad...”

“Heh, I agree, though coffee does it best for me in the mornings.”

They both smiled good-naturedly. Nabiki raised her glass. “For now, let us enjoy this
fabulous feast for two, as a couple, and not worry about the future for another hour.”
Ranma raised his own glass up awkwardly. “To us.”

He almost stumbled in his words, but he grinned back. “To us.”

The chinked the glasses together and sipped from them lightly. She winked at him. “Don’t
forget, we have to keep up the illusion, so treat me well, and try to eat slower this time,
your dad’s not here to steal your food.”

Ranma had the decency to blush.

                                  An hour and a half later

Wow, when I told Ranma to eat slow, I never expected this pace... Even I can’t do it...
They had managed to finish every last morsel on both dishes, although Nabiki did eat half
of what was supposed to be her share, but she wasn’t hungry for more. Ranma happily ate
her leftovers.

Nabiki giggled at the way he licked his finger. “You’re like a kid when you do that.”

“Mmm?” He still had some rice on his face, so Nabiki reached over and plucked them from
his skin. “Ah... Sorry...” He got his napkin out and started cleaning his face.

“I didn’t think you would eat this slow, Ranma. Either you go full out, or go travel at the
slowest possible speed... Is there any middle ground for you?”

Ranma grinned back at her. “I guess not... When you fight, you have to give it your all, to
win, or you give nothing, and you lose.”

“What about Kuno then?” Nabiki observed a difference.

“Well, he’s different.” Ranma waved her off. “It was never a fight to begin with. Only the big
ones, Ryoga when he first had the Shi Shi Hokodan, Herb at Mount Horaisan, and then
Saffron...” Ranma eyes grew darker. “That was the hardest battle ever... I almost died, and
Akane...” He looked away, closing his eyes painfully.

“Ranma, my little sister is alive, thanks to you. Don’t worry about her nearly dying. The fact
is that she didn’t.” She held his hand for a moment.

He looked back gratefully. “Thanks Nabiki.”

“Now...” She coughed lightly. “Back to business. I need to go how far you’re willing to
make yourself disappear, as more issues have to be sorted out.”

Ranma’s eyes steeled over, and Nabiki felt his cold stare. “This is my biggest fight, the
final battle. I’m going to use everything in my power to win.”

She swallowed nervously. Those eyes... He’s accepted it without even a moment’s
hesitation... She cleared her throat. He’s deadly serious...

“You can make yourself vanish through the public records, but there are areas where that
won’t be so easy...” Ranma frowned before Nabiki continued. “Your parents, your mum in
particular...” His lips became a thin line as he thought. “There is no way to disguise that
she had a baby... You’ll have to write that she had a miscarriage on your day of birth, and
that involves editing her profile and maybe creating a new one for the baby...”

Ranma held his hand over his mouth. “Oh God... Mum...” He shook his head. “No...
There’s no way I can do that to her. Even though she’s a bit... traditional... I can’t... I can’t
kill her baby...”

Nabiki pursed her lips. “I thought so too, it’s very drastic, and you need a medical
certificate from back then, and we can’t forge things like that now...” She clicked her
fingers. “How about leaving it as a miscarriage, but with a note to never tell your parents?
We can cite reasons of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and that they fully regressed to a
time when neither of them had children to prevent the pain from coming back.”

“I don’t get all those words you used...” Ranma’s head was tilted to the right. “But it sounds
much better than the first answer.”

“There are also things that might trigger memories of you. You have to get rid of everything
that has you in them, these could be photos, clothes, you name it... The Saotome honour
blade is also a key to you, and the seppuku contract. Get rid of those and you’re almost
guaranteed to not get any emotional response from the neighbourhood when there’s no
trace of you around the place. Oh...” She clicked her fingers. “You’ll need to do that
memory thing to Akane’s friends, and those two perverts who hang out with you.”

“Honour blade...” Ranma was writing all this down and speaking under his breath.
“Perverts...” He looked up at Nabiki. “Anything else?”

“There is one major thing for you.” Nabiki’s eyes gleamed in the low light. “You need to
die.”

“Would sir or madam care for any dessert?” The waiter raised an eyebrow, thinking that
the date was going smoothly for Nabiki.

The couple jumped backwards at his surprise appearance. “Y-Yes...” Ranma quickly
looked down the list and picked the cheapest thing there. “I’ll have a bowl of ice cream with
three scoops.”
Nabiki was more collected. “New York cheesecake for me, thanks.”

He gathered up the empty plates and platters, leaving the twosome to themselves.

“What do you mean by that?” Ranma was interested, but mortified at the same time.

“Look at you...” She waved over his body. “You’re still alive aren’t you? If people from
Furinkan see you in Nerima far in the future, some will wonder why you’re there. Even if
you don’t go back, someone might try to look for you. You aren’t on the system any more,
you have no birth certificate. Technically you shouldn’t exist. You need to create a death
certificate, which also requires a coroner’s report. You know that Dr Ono left, right? I’ll give
you the address to his practice, you can also do that memory thing there...” Her eyes
mulled over her own past, standing over a small plinth in a grassy area with her family. “A
grave would also be necessary, to end the trail forever.”

Ranma gulped. “Are you sure?”

“Positive.” Nabiki darkened. “It’s a drastic step, but it’s the most important one. No one
would look past a grave, even me.”

Ranma wrote it down. “I never thought of that...”

“That’s why you’re talking to me now.” Nabiki smiled darkly.

Two plates of desserts were placed at their table, and the waiter promptly left them in
peace. Ranma mused over his ice cream, his look pensive.

“What’re you thinking about?” Nabiki asked.

“How come you know all this? I know I skipped out on a few classes, or slept through
some, but I’m sure they didn’t teach us this...”

She smirked. “It’s my business to know. If things go wrong I need to have every option
available to me. Of course, I’d never go as far as faking my own death, but it’s just useful
information.”

Ranma’s intelligent reply to that was. “Oh...”

She finished three fork loads of cheesecake. “So? When do you plan on doing this plan of
yours?”

Ranma looked out of their booth, to the far window. “I’m not sure exactly, but sometime
this week.” He looked at her. “That fight on Sunday... They’re only going to get worse the
longer I stay, and soon, someone will get hurt, bad...”

“How did you blow everyone away though?” She remembered the power behind his
scream. “I haven’t seen you do a move like that before.”

He smirked. “Ah... I made it up on the spot.” He grinned, happy that they were talking
about something he was proud of. “It’s my Moko Takabisha, but I fired it at the ground.
Like Ryoga with his Perfect Shi Shi Hokodan, I wasn’t hurt, but everyone else was.” He
looked at her. “That’s the moment I knew, I had to speak to you, before someone lost
control, before...” He was about to continue, moving his clenched fist towards himself, but
shut his own words off.

Nabiki sat there. I see... That makes sense now... “So, how’s your ice cream?”

“Huh?” He looked down and saw the only ball remaining was the strawberry one. “Ah, it
was great!” He laughed nervously.

“Why aren’t you eating that last one? It’s all hand made here you know...”

“Well, uh...” He looked down and his features went from desire to confusion to frustration.

“Let me guess...” Nabiki moved her head down to face his eyes. “You’re embarrassed
because you don’t want to be seen eating an unmanly pink sweet, right?”

Ranma’s face contorted. “My pops was such an idiot... That seppuku contract... And mum
is mad sometimes...” He looked down at the inviting ice cream. “I can’t even enjoy things
as a guy any more...”

“But as a girl?” Nabiki quipped.

“Well... Mum doesn’t get mad, it’s all weird...” He looked up. “I can eat sundaes and not
feel strange, but when I’m a guy...”

“Your dad gave you all that bull about you being a weak girl, and you don’t want to eat or
act, in any way, remotely girly while you’re a man. I can see it in your face.” She winked.
“Besides, when you’re a girl, I bet sundaes taste and smell much better. A woman’s
senses differ to men’s.”

“I... I’m not a woman!” He cried just above a whisper, terrified that his secret would come
out in this area of high society.

“Come on...” She waved him off. “We can all see that, you’re more tomboyish than Akane
when you’re a girl. But you have to admit, things look different when you’re a girl, right?”
Ranma looked down, quiet. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of, I don’t know what it’s like to
change genders all the time, but I can imagine you must be really confused about who you
are. You’re still the same, but you’re beginning to appreciate the differences that men and
women have in society.”

“How so?” Ranma asked, for once not uncomfortable.

“Well, for starters, you’re a strong man, important for this culture. Headstrong, and you
know what you want. However, you can also become a girl, and girls are considered lower
in stature than men, surely you have noticed.” Ranma shrugged but agreed. “I want to run
a successful business, maybe a branch of a big company, but being a woman, my
chances are as likely as Ryoga being able to find the dojo from a street away.” Ranma
grinned widely. “Yet, you’ve noticed the advantages of being a woman, you can get
freebies, extra food and ice cream, you can appreciate the finer things in life, new
fashions, even how to be sexy, and your emotions can be shown without anyone
questioning you.” She raised her eyebrows. “You even know the art of seduction...” She
held up her hand to halt his protests. “I know already, you only did that for possible cures,
ego boosting, et cetera.”
“So... What you’re trying to say is...?”

Nabiki rolled her eyes. “You have the best of both worlds, you can see things from both
sides of the gender divide, you can use the good points from each to win you promotion,
more food, more time for deadlines, everything!” Nabiki smiled genuinely. “You, Ranma,
don’t know how lucky you are.”

Looking down at his ice cream, Ranma picked up his spoon and placed the whole ball on
it, and deposited it in his mouth, letting the sweet melt in his mouth before swallowing. He
put the spoon down.

“You’re right, Nabiki...” He looked at his empty bowl. “When I first left Jusenkyo, I always
thought it was a curse, that I was punished by the Gods for something stupid...” He rested
his chin on his hand. “Then I saw Shampoo and the other, all women, strong women, a
whole village run by them... None stronger than me though.” He added cheekily. “They
didn’t think that being a woman was bad... Then I came to Nerima, and Akane rejected me
because I was a boy...” His look grew nostalgic. “We never could get on... When I was a
girl though, I understood her more... I don’t know how...” He smirked wryly. “I was still a
jerk inside, so she still hit me.” His eyes hardened. “A whole year, and then we left
Jusendo... I knew that the curse wasn’t a curse any more, it wasn’t that bad... But I still
wasn’t sure what it meant. Was I supposed to be born a girl? Was I trying my best to rebel
against pops and mum by being ‘not manly’...” He shook his head. “Bah! I don’t know what
I’m talking about... There’s only one thing I know...” He made a silly grin and stuck his
bright pink tongue out. “Ice cream tastes better when I’m a girl!”

Nabiki laughed out loud at his naivety, but at the same time his occasional moment of
deep self-reflection, something he didn’t even realise he was doing before he stopped
himself. It took her several minutes for her breathing to come back to normal as the odd
hiccup of laughter threatened to return.

“Ranma, you’re hilarious sometimes, I don’t know what I’d do without you...”

His eyelid twitched for moment. “I don’t know... I guess help people out, you’re good at this
analysing thing.” He smiled sincerely. “You don’t know how much you’ve helped me out
today, I know how to fix things thanks to you, and I kinda learned some things about
myself, things I never bothered to think through...”

As Nabiki finished her cheesecake, she looked at the grandfather clock in the room. Hmm,
getting late... “It’s been a lovely night Ranma, I think we should be getting home now...”
She signalled to the waiter with her eyes and he came over.

“I trust your meal was satisfactory?”

“Yes, it was excellent.” Nabiki laid it on thick. “We’d like the bill please.”

“Certainly madam.”

The man left with their plates and returned a minute later with their bill. Ranma began to
sweatdrop at all the zeroes, until Nabiki pulled the bill closer to her.

“Excuse me...” She looked up at the waiter. “This isn’t our bill.”
“I’m sorry? This is table -”

“No, I’m afraid you don’t understand.” Her tone could cut through diamonds. “This bill does
not belong to Nabiki Tendo, have I made myself clear?”

The waiter began to sweat under his collar, and he bowed deeply. “Y-Yes, my apologies
madam! I’ll see to it right away.”

She looked at Ranma, who was staring at her in mild shock, respect and fright. She
grinned back, pointing her thumb at herself.

“That’s the power of a woman.”

                                     Thirty minutes later
                                            Nerima

Nabiki breathed in and out, her breath was still coming visible. Man, it’s cold... Her
overcoat was fully buttoned up, and she still felt chilly. Ranma over on her left was looking
at her, he was unaffected by the biting winds.

“How the hell can you remain warm in weather like this?” The wind whistled as she spoke.

“What? Is it cold?” He licked his finger and held it up to the wind. “Yeah, I suppose you’re
right, I haven’t noticed.” He saw her befuddled features. “Pops and I trained in strange
places, he made me run outside at night.”

“Huh?” Nabiki was confused. “That doesn’t sound so bad.”

Ranma grinned. “We were in Tibet, and I was waist deep in snow.”

“Man, what a father...” Nabiki muttered. “How did you survive that?”

“Well, I got light frostbite the first two nights, then he told me I had to create heat of my
own to survive.” Ranma held his head laughing to himself. “He did a lap to show me, then I
copied him.”

“Okay... So you create heat around you, using your ki?”

“Yeah, that’s the way... I can’t make it into fire or ice or anything so big, just change how
hot or cold it is, so I don’t die... Training like this makes my body less sensitive to the
weather.”

“I’m jealous...” Nabiki stated, before looking forwards. “Wish I could do that...”

Slowly, she felt the wind around her grow less forbidding, until she noted that it was
pleasantly warm. She still had to keep on her coat, but she no longer shivered. She
glanced over to Ranma.

“Did you just do something?”

He was whistling away, arms behind his back. “Huh? Did you say something?”
“Oh, nothing...” Nabiki grinned. Well, he can be a gentleman at times...

They had arrived at the same corner where Ranma met her.

“Well, here we are...” She could see the Tendo Dojo sign from where they were standing.
“Home...”

Ranma seemed awfully twitchy. Maybe it’s nerves...

“So, remember the rules, I go in first, then you turn up fifteen minutes later and complain
about the stupid challenge, and how far he asked you to meet. I’m sure you can make up
someone with weird moves.”

Ranma smiled, then crinkled his forehead as Nabiki fluttered her eyelids.

“So, aren’t I going to get a kiss from my date?”

“Wh-Wh-What?!” He almost screamed until Nabiki placed her hand over his mouth.

“Come on, you must’ve seen it in the movies at least once, the guy always kisses the girl
at the end of the date. Where’s mine?”

“Uh... Ah...” His flustered expression made Nabiki wish she brought her camera. “O-Okay
then...” Nabiki was gawking as Ranma moved in slowly, their bodies just touching. “I... I’m
going first...”

His head lowered as Nabiki raise hers slightly, her lips extending forwards, ready to accept
it.

However, the Gods saw fit to punish this display of public affection by proceeding to
drench Nerima in a sudden shower. A blustered, and very much female, Ranma growled
at the rain for the umpteenth time. It lasted for two minutes, before leaving the smell of wet
concrete and tarmac in the air.

“Ah... Sorry Nabiki, your hair got ruined...” The redhead laughed sadly.

“It’s okay, this night has been worth it.”

Yep, it was a real eye-opener for me... She moved in quick and gave Ranma a peck on the
cheek, leaving the impression of her lipstick there. As Ranma blushed furiously, Nabiki
lightly jogged to the front door, winking at and waving goodbye to her date.

She didn’t see Ranma’s face fall, knowing what had to be done.

                                       Ten minutes later
                                        Nabiki’s room

Her high heels were stored away in her closet, for another unfortunate boyfriend. It’s been
a while since I went on a date I actually enjoyed... She tried to think back, but could only
remember expensive meals, gifts and men with black censorship boxes over their eyes.
No one was special enough to me... The thought of her ten yen battle flashed back, but
she pushed it away with ease.

Never mind that... Ranma is going to leave! I can’t just let him go like that... Sitting at her
desk, facing the window, she didn’t sense the door to her room opening slightly.
Everything is going to be ruined! My financial year will need to be changed... She pulled
out her notebook, the same one she brought to the date, with recent additions of all the
addresses of departments that had to be accessed. But everyone will forget, how will the
bets matter after that... Something didn’t add up to her. Hang on... Ranma didn’t ask me to
keep quiet... When he spoke of the memory eraser, he was evasive... Does that mean...!
Her eyes widened, but it was too late. She looked to her door and saw it was ajar, she
knew she had closed it.

Something warm appeared behind her, along with the emotionally wracked female voice.
She felt droplets fall on her nape.

“I… I really liked our date... I... I’m sorry Nabiki...”

Her last thought was how nice the comb and shampoo felt against the roots of her hair.
                                          ---

                                            Present day
                                           Lake Ogawara

Ranma was still laughing lightly to himself.

“It’s not funny!” She hit him across his arm. “We went out on a date, and you made me
forget it! I’ll never live it down...” She began to sulk. “I have to admit, besides dealing with
your problem, I did have fun, the first time in a long while.” She then though back and
corrected herself. “Apart from the festival though...” She saw him still sharing in his private
joke. “Ahhh... It all makes sense now...”

“What does?” Ranma asked.

“You, the day of the festival... You didn’t want to go as a girl, but when I asked you, you
gave in too quickly. I thought it was strange at the time, but obviously by then you had
done the memory thing...”

“Yeah...” He confirmed. “I felt guilty about that, I wasn’t sure if you were going to be okay
afterwards, so I wanted to make it up to you...”

“Then you also accompanied me during the festival, made me win loads of money, which I
then used to fund my trip mostly...”

“Well... I... you know...” Ranma looked away, his cheeks reddening slightly.

“I... felt bad about leaving you in the lurch like that...” She was recalling the last moments
of the festival.

“Hey, it’s not your fault.” Ranma grinned, flexing his arm muscle. “I got out of it in one
piece, I’m just glad you got out of there before things got out of hand...”

“Come to think of it...” Nabiki frowned. “Akane was pretty mad at you, spending all that
time with someone? Shampoo?”

“Uh, no...” Ranma looked at her again. “She saw me around you too many times that day...
I was maybe a bit too worried... Akane got...” His eyes glazed over as he thought back to
the past.

“Jealous...” Nabiki shook her head. “My sister has some issues with men, too many to
count... Thinking that they’re all perverts thanks to Kuno’s declaration at school and the
morning fights against that horde. She also thinks she isn’t feminine enough as she
practices martial arts, and thinks of other girls as obstacles. Our weak excuse for a father
also gives her a poor role model.” She stared at his face. “Then you and your dad come
along. You’re better than her in martial arts, you’re even more feminine than her if you try,
and you’re nothing like your dad. She thinks of you as an obstacle because you’re part girl,
a pervert because you’re a boy, a threat since you can beat her in a fight whenever you
want, and a playboy because the women want you.” She sighed. “Yet, she still liked you...
She spent so long listening to the signals from her brain and her gut instinct, that she
forgot that the heart also gave out signals...” Nabiki smiled sadly. “Akane rarely showed
her real feelings to anyone. Hopefully now she will have the opportunity to listen to her
heart.”

Ranma sighed and rubbed his head. “All this talking and thinking is giving me a massive
headache...” He looked at her. “Sorry, I respect what you said, but it’s all behind me now...
I’m not going back to Nerima.”

“I thought as much...” She looked at him. “I have loads of questions though. Like where the
hell did you find such a powerful recipe for the memory incense?”

Ranma smirked. “Where else do most potions and mind stuff come from? I got it from
Cologne.”

“Really?” She raised an eyebrow. “I can’t imagine she was too pleased about it.”

“Well...” He lowered his tone. “I used the Umi-senken, and I got it that way from her big
book. I got the herbs and stuff needed to make it first.”

“And, how the hell you make it?” Nabiki persisted.

“Again... I used Cologne.” He saw Nabiki about to ask something, but jumped in for her. “I
used a slave and memory pressure point, after reading up a lot from when I stole the
recipe. I think Shampoo did a weaker one to Akane to make her forget about me.”

“Why didn’t you do that to me?”

“I couldn’t... It’s only for instructions, I needed you to speak to me.”

“Kodachi’s paralysis powder was in there, how was that part of the memory solution? Did
you get her to mix some suggestion incense in too?”

Ranma shook his head. “They weren’t parts, but I asked Cologne to mix them in, I couldn’t
have anyone wake up while they were sniffing it.” He scratched his head. “She did
everything quickly, and an hour later she forgot everything she did... She never knew...”
Nabiki nodded. “Yes... She was probably the expert, Shampoo could make some potions,
but she must’ve learned them from somewhere. Cologne sounds like the right person. So,
what suggestions did you give to everyone?”

Ranma looked uncomfortable. “I know... I did bad, you can’t change people, but I wanted
everyone to get along better. I felt sorry for the Kuno’s, so I wanted them to think more
about what they do, and to try to be better people... My parents... I asked to live happy
together, that’s the least I could offer them. The same with the Amazons, Ukyo and
Konatsu, even Ryoga... I wanted everyone to have a better life... One without me...”
Ranma hands began to shake. “That was the whole point... I had to leave, so everyone
could be happy... I only bring sadness...”

“That’s not true and you know it!” Nabiki snapped back fast. “Sure things, went a bit hectic
back then, but there were fun times, even I liked having you around, if only to amuse
myself from the daily boredom.” Ranma smiled a little. “Okay... Last question, what the hell
did you do in Nerima?”

“Ah... That.” Ranma began poking his two index fingers together, the guilt apparent. “I did
a little mistake with the potion... Something my dad would do...”

Nabiki thought back to the many mistakes Genma made, but one stood out above most.
“What was on the next page?”

Ranma chuckled to himself. “If I try to change more than one person’s memory in one
hour, then the magic would end up creating a storm, to destroy the area.” He looked at
her. “Nerima would have frozen; the lightning was ready to strike.” He clenched his fist and
held a phantom wound in his torso. “I didn’t know what to do, someone would have died...
So I did what you said.”

“Eh? What was that then?” Nabiki asked.

“I mixed together some moves.” He smirked.

“I know, I saw the Shi Shi Hokodan and the Hiryu Shoten Ha, but what was the last one?”

“Well, I used the Perfect Moko Takabisha, I’m not as gloomy as Ryoga, then the Hiryu
Shoten Ha...” He shuddered. “I had something ready at the centre... I used the
Nekoken...”

“What?!” Nabiki stood up. “But you know what happens to you!”

“I know!” He was still showing fearful eyes. “I had to! I don’t know how to change the
weather! And I didn’t know anything that could break a Moko Takabisha into pieces... The
Nekoken... It uses ki claws. I couldn’t remember anything, only a lot of pain when I woke
up on the ground... I was hoping that it would do that on its own, since I was in danger...”
He grinned. “Guess it worked though, huh?”

“You were bleeding though! You could’ve died!”

Ranma shook his head. “That doesn’t matter, as long as I got rid of the clouds, I didn’t
care.”
“Ranma...” Nabiki changed her view of him then. “You have to value yourself more than
that, you have friends in this world, and family, that would have missed you.”

His wry smiled caught her off guard. “Not any more...”

She though back to her diluted memories from when she woke up in his bed. “Why do you
still have the honour blade? Why do you still have the teddy? Are those signs of a person
who doesn’t have friends, or doesn’t want to have friends?”

Ranma flinched. “You were just being nice to me because I was dressed up by you...”

“And you were just being nice to me for doing that shampoo thing to me. What’s the
difference there? Isn’t it possible that I was just enjoying being in your company? You
helped me to win the money, I wanted to pay you back by getting you something, even if it
was just a tiny bear. Isn’t that the sign of a friend?” She recalled something he said earlier.
“Didn’t you say it was ‘a gift that came from someone you would like to call a friend’? Has
that offer expired?”

“Well, no... But...” He looked at her, his look both hopeful and ashamed.

“But you think I wouldn’t like to be seen dead with you, is that it?” Nabiki winked. “Sure
you’re a jerk at times, you don’t have a single yen to your name, and you tend to speak
your mind before thinking about what whatever you say...” She paused here, and thought
back to her experiences on the road, and from everything she learned about the boy in
front of her. “Yet... You have lots of good qualities, you’re strong, you’re determined, you
believe in justice, and most of all, you’re honest.” She raised her eyebrows suggestively.
“What more, you’ll go to any lengths to protect someone you love.”

“I don’t lo-” He paused mid-word. “Well, I can’t any more, can I?”

Nabiki stood up and walked beside him. She stretched her hand out, and Ranma watched
it with growing confusion.

“Nabiki Tendo, pleased to meet you.”

Ranma didn’t get it, but got up and grasped her hand gently. “R-Ranma Saotome, same
here...”

“Would you like to be friends?” She smiled genuinely, her eyes closing with merriment.

Ranma shot the same joyful smile back. “I’d like that...” He shook her hand energetically,
then released her. “So, now that we’re friends, what do we do?”

“Whatever friends do... Talk, congratulate, commiserate, laugh, go out, shop together,
anything you can think of...”

He stared closely at her face, taking in every facet of it. “Well, I don’t have much here...”

“Okay…” Nabiki began, and sat down. “First, sit with me, and I’ll tell you my story…”

                                       One hour later
Ranma stared wide-eyed at her.

“Y-You went through all that?”

“Yeah… I think pissing off the Yakuza and being chased out of town because of some
lucky bets was the easiest bit…”

“Ryoga… I never thought he would…”

Nabiki waved him off. “It’s fine, I’ve dealt with him, I guess he needed someone to chase,
and I was that person…” She growled. “I should’ve known that Herb was hiding
something…” She paused at the thought, and looked hard at Ranma. “The last thing…
Why am I looking for you?”

“Huh?”

“Yes… Why? I told you why at first, now… This urge I have, is gone…” She watched him
carefully. “Do you have that recipe for the memory thing?”

“Umm… yeah…” Ranma ran off into the bedroom and returned a minute later, his head
covered in sawdust. He laughed sheepishly. “Heh, sorry, it was in the cupboard… I need
to dust around here.”

Taking the scraps of paper, Nabiki scanned it over, turning the pages until she stopped on
a line. “I see…”

“Eh?” Ranma craned his neck but couldn’t see exactly what she was staring at. “What do
you see?”

Nabiki flicked the page back at him. “You mixed in the suggestion incense, which was
okay, but I wore my earplugs, that’s how I wasn’t affected. The problem was…” Ranma’s
jaw dropped as he read the page. “…when one part of your mixture failed to change me…”

“It all failed, and did the opposite…” Ranma spoke quietly.

Nabiki nodded. “I didn’t hear your commands, but once that happened, the memory
removal turned to memory enhancement…” She grinned. “I just couldn’t forget you; my
mind was completely tuned in to finding you, whatever the cost.”

Ranma was wiping his forehead. “Damn, I was lucky no one else wore earplugs… I
couldn’t get onto your computer either...”

Nabiki smirked. “You also forgot the red hair from when I combed it for you…” She raised
an eyebrow. “What was your suggestion to make my life better?”

Ranma wobbled his head side-to-side, trying to remember. “Umm… I think I told you to
use your brain to help people more, and not to use too much blackmail… Nothing much…”

Hmm… I suppose that, in a way, I’ve been doing that on my own… Nabiki smirked.

Ranma sighed. “So, what do we do now?”
“Well…” Nabiki gave him a mischievous wink. “We’re friends now, and friends may give
each other gifts now and then.”

Ranma tapped his finger against his cheek, then lightened up. “I suppose I can give you
something...”

“Oh?” Nabiki smirked. “And what might that be?”

“Wait here and you’ll see...”

Ranma walked off and went to the sink, and opened the cupboard directly beneath it.
Inside was a full aquarium that fish usually resided in, though it appeared to be murky. He
pulled out some green substance, grabbed a toothbrush that was hanging nearby and put
it on the brush.

“What? Is that the new Colgate?” Nabiki scoffed.

Ranma laughed back. “Nah, nothing so boring.” He gave her his sincere gaze. “Do you
trust me?”

Nabiki wasn’t sure what to make of his question, given the last time he asked that. “Yes, I
always have...”

“Close your eyes.”

She did so and felt a wet velvety texture placed against her eyebrow and forehead,
followed by some intense rubbing with the brush, until soon the only things she could feel
there were the brush sticks scraping lightly on her skin.

“Well, thanks Ranma, but...”

She saw him wash the brush and return it to the container under the sink. On a second
look, she saw an odd scaly material sat on the floor of the glass, covered with some grass
which floated in the water. He came back with a mirror, and handed it quietly to her.

Oh God... Her lips began to quiver. D-Did he really...?

She stared at her face, her now beautiful face. She pulled back her fringe and saw,
miraculously, that her scar had vanished totally. Her eyebrow was no longer split in two,
and her skin had seamlessly restored itself without any marks left.

“The Moss of Life...” She blurted out loud, her shock still keeping her frozen at her old
face, one she thought she would see for many years to come. Ranma nodded without a
word. “You kept it...”

“In case something bad happens...” He looked back at the sink. “I don’t know if more will
grow, bu-GAKK!”

His speech was rudely interrupted by a major glomp, and for a moment he thought
Shampoo had found him. Instead the visage of Nabiki was clamped onto him, tears flowing
freely from her tightly shut eyes.
“Thank you... Thank you Ranma... Y-You don’t know h-how much th-this means to me...”
Her sobs affected her speaking.

“I...” His face was turning blue. “I’m getting an idea of how much...”

She loosened her grip slightly, but kept her arms looped around the back of his neck.

“Now’s about that kiss? I never did get a proper one from our date...” Her eyes held
unbridled passion, and Ranma blushed at how much of this lust was directed at him.

“Umm... I’m not sure this is what friends do, Nabiki...” The sweatdrops grew larger as she
lowered her eyelids seductively.

“Who say I wanted to be just friends now?” Her heart relaxed as she took control of her
emotions.

“Well... Okay then...” He licked his lips nervously and smiled similarly. “I... I’m going first...”

Nabiki raised her head, much like the last time and she waited for his presence. He
tentatively held her by the hips, getting ready to pull away fast in case she hit him for being
too forward, though that feeling only lasted a second. He looked down at her, and felt
content, he moved in closer.

Their lips touched, and they melted into their first kiss.

                                               ---
                                         Author’s Notes

Phew! It’s over!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey of Nabiki, both her mental growth, and her slight
physical changes. Enhanced throwing ability? Well, I had to give her something… Her
NWC were equipped for three main things, strength and hand to hand combat (Lime), long
range weaponry and healing (Monlon), and finally ninja style stealth with some body
binding technique (Sarutoru). Her mind would make her a formidable general, able to
easily command them to work together. She also matured in the way she handles people,
and inadvertently lived out Ranma’s wish for her, to become a better person.

This chapter was maddening in the amount of dialogue, however it was necessary to
finalise all the story threads that were once woven. I’m still surprised that no one
commented on Herb’s last words after Nabiki left. The ‘irony of fate’ in this case was that
the person who instigated the disappearance is the same as the one who’s looking.

I wonder if anyone spotted the subtle hints to other series in the story –
- Herb’s father, the Dragon King, granting a wish in Japan? Must be Dragonball.
- The Messenger from Herb is inspired from Hedwig in Harry Potter.
- The strange compass, the Eternal Post, from Toma is lifted from One Piece.
- The old man muttering a strange language to access divinity, AKA Yggdrasil
programming code, from Ah! My Goddess.
- Anji, ‘That’ Man’, subtle allusions to Guilty Gear X.
- Nabiki and Ranma eating fried eggs on toast, borrowed from Laputa (Castle in the Sky).
- The small fit suffered by Nabiki when recalling memory is from The Butterfly Effect.
- Last but not least, Ranma pulling splinters out of Nabiki’s hand, my own small tribute to
Kirinrin’s story ‘Happily Married’. It’s in my favourite’s list, and I highly recommend it for an
emotional love story.

These are the main ideas I put in, there may be others, but I can’t recall them at the
moment. I hope you’ve enjoyed this story. A small (when compared to this monster
chapter) epilogue will follow, to briefly showcase the lives of several people.

-J

								
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